Ruth Roland

Ruth Roland (August 26, 1892 – September 22, 1937) was an American stage and film actress and film producer.[1]

Ruth Roland
Born(1892-08-26)August 26, 1892
DiedSeptember 22, 1937(1937-09-22) (aged 45)
OccupationActress, producer
Years active1911–1935
Spouse(s)Lionel T. Kent (m. 1917–div.1919)
Ben Bard (m. 1929)

Early life and career

Ruth Roland was born in San Francisco, California. Her father managed a theatre, and she became a child actress who went on to work in vaudeville. At age 12, she was the youngest student at Hollywood High School, having attended the school around 1904 or 1905 (there is debate on this date). Roland was Hollywood High School's first homegrown movie star.[2]

She was hired by director Sidney Olcott who had seen her on stage in New York City. She appeared in her first film, A Chance Shot, for Kalem Studios in 1911, becoming the leading actress of their new West Coast studio.[3] After Gene Gauntier's departure from Kalem, she became billed as the new "Kalem Girl." She eventually became overseer of "Kalem House" where all the actors lived.

Roland left Kalem and went on to even more fame at Balboa Films, where she was under contract from 1914 to 1917. In 1915 she appeared in a 14-episode adventure film serial titled The Red Circle. A shrewd businessperson, she established her own production company, Ruth Roland Serials, and signed a distribution deal with Pathé to make seven new multi-episode serials that proved very successful.

Between 1909 and 1927, Roland appeared in more than 200 films. She appeared in an early color feature film Cupid Angling (1918) made in the Natural Color process invented by Leon F. Douglass, and filmed in the Lake Lagunitas area of Marin County, California.

Roland worked the film business until 1930 when she made her first talkie. Although her voice worked well enough on screen, now entering her forties she returned to performing in live theatre, making only one more film appearance, a talkie, in 1936.

Personal life

Roland was married to Lionel T. Kent on May 16, 1917.[4] The marriage was short-lived: they separated on September 2, 1918, and divorced on April 2, 1919.[5][6] On February 14, 1929 she married fellow actor Ben Bard, who also had a stage acting background, and ran a Hollywood acting school after they married.[7] They were together until the end of Roland's life.


Ruth Roland died of cancer in 1937, aged 45, in Hollywood and is interred near her husband, Ben Bard in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.[8]

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Ruth Roland received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6220 Hollywood Boulevard on February 8, 1960.[9][10] In 1979, a concrete box containing Roland's personal film collection was discovered buried in the backyard of Roland's house, and donated to the UCLA Film Archives by her heirs in 1980.[11]

Selected filmography


  1. Staff writer (September 28, 1937). Morrison, John L. (ed.). "Ruth Roland, Serial Star, Left Real Estate Fortune". The Record-Argus. 89 (227). Greenville, Pennsylvania: Advance Argus Company. p. 3 via
  2. Ruth Roland profile Archived October 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine,; accessed May 6, 2014.
  3. Staff writer (1924). Stars of the Photoplay. Chicago, Illinois: Photoplay Magazine. p. 206 via Internet Archive.
  4. Staff Writer (June 7, 1917). "Ruth Roland". Detroit Free Press. 82 (253). Detroit, Michigan. p. 8 via
  5. Staff Writer (April 2, 1919). "Ruth Roland is Divorced from Lieut. Kent". Los Angeles Evening Herald. 44 (130) (Night ed.). Los Angeles, California. pp. 1, 7.
  6. Staff Writer (April 19, 1919). "Picture Patter". The Seattle Star. 22 (51). Seattle, Washington. p. 3 via
  7. Staff Writer (February 11, 1929). "Ruth Roland and New Hubby-to-Be". The News Journal. 62 (36). Wilmington, Delaware. p. 20 via
  8. Ellenberger, Allan R. (May 1, 2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-7864-0983-9.
  9. "Ruth Roland". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  10. "Ruth Roland". Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  11. Staff writer (March 14, 1980). "UCLA Acquires Roland Films". The Indianapolis Star. 77 (283). p. 32 via


  • Balboa Films – A History and Filmography of the Silent Film Studio ISBN 0-7864-0496-5
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